YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Here’s an intriguing project with Michael Tilson Thomas and Tan Dun that uses the Google in several new and engaging ways. It’s basically an enormous music-minus-one project that invites performers on any instrument (granted, it has to, in theory, be one of the ones included in the existing pieces, at least if you plan to play by the rules) to perform and record their part and submit it for perusal by the project managers. At the end of the process all the “best” performers’ renditions will be, well, rendered into one constructed version as performed by dozens of people around the world who have never, again in theory, met or played with each other. Fun.

Here’s the article from today’s NY Times. Here’s the actual link to YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

Talking “artistic merit” seems beside the point here, and anyway doing so sounds so two thousand seven. But – and all snarkiness aside – I sincerely think this is a great idea. Anything that gets people involved in playing and participating and thinking about music is a good thing. And something gives me the feeling that this is going to be just the tip of the iceberg.

That said, this project is also ripe for some Lessig-like, Oswald-esque shenanigans. And that’s something we will likely also be seeing on YouTube.